Have you ever struggled to spot your dry fly in low-light? That surface glare can be a real pain in the eyes when you are fishing your regular parachute dry, but here is the answer: Black posts or dark wings.

Flies tied with dark, neutral colours, like dark grey or black CDC and/or poly-yarn, really stand out in poor light (typically in the early morning and evening, or on cloudy days) and can turn fishing frustration into a high. I experienced the efficacy of this handy trick (showed to me by Jack Kos) in New Zealand a decade ago, in which case we frequently fished in overcast conditions for large brown trout that required accurate placements and perfect, dead drifts. A smallish, pitch black parachute ‘Adams’ worked really well for us and not only was it highly visible in the surface glare, but the trout also seemed to like the little black fly.

 

Black dry flies are easy to spot during the late afternoon surface frenzy.

 

I’ve been playing with smallish, dark or black dries on our waters with surprisingly good results. While browns and rainbows are a given on these flies, I’ve also managed to catch a good number of surface-cruising witvis on them. The dark flies were easy to spot in poor light and the witvis also seemed to be attracted to the small, dark/black dry flies, more so than other colours we tried.

 

Parachute Black & Peacock

Recipe:

Thread – Semperfli Nano Silk 20D Professional Black 24/0 (I purchased this from the StreamX fly shop)

Hook – Mouche #16 nymph/heavy dry 8428

Tail: Black Coq de Leon

Body: Blue peacock eye feather fibre

Parachute: Veniard polypropylene floating yarn, black

Hackle: Whiting black dry fly hackle

Whiting’s long, fairly uniform slender dry fly hackle feathers are ideal for small parachute flies.

Small, black parachute ‘Adams’ type flies worked well for me in New Zealand to catch browns rising actively in the late afternoon glare.

 

Charcoal egg-laying-caddis

Thread – Semperfli Nano Silk 20D Professional Black 24/0

Hook – Mouche #16 nymph/heavy dry 8428

Egg mass – Hareline CDC puff, pale yellow

Abdomen: Cookshill CDC, black

Wing: Cookshill CDC, dark ‘blue dun’ (or black)

Legs: Veniard Centipede Legs Mini, speckled tan (I purchased this from the StreamX fly shop)

Oh the fun ‘probing’ the ‘glare’ on large braided rivers for trout in NZ…Not! While spotting fish was almost impossible, the trout eagerly ate small black flies off the surface, as long as the right spots were covered and the drift was right. I learnt the hard way and the fishing was slow, but I also learnt a lot about big browns by fishing blind on large braided systems in NZ. On the other hand, spotting the small black dries was easy and water could be covered quickly. Here Alan Kircher’s into a good fish (hooked right in that glare!).

 

The RBJ (Random Black Job)

Recipe:

Thread – Semperfli Nano Silk 20D Professional Black 24/0

Hook – Daiichi #14-16 D1130 Wide Gape Scud

Body: Rainy’s Hi-Viz Ant Bodies, black with orange tip foam (I purchased this from the StreamX fly shop)

Wing: Cookshill CDC, black

Legs: Veniard Centipede Legs Mini, speckled white (I purchased this from the StreamX fly shop)

The RBJ (Random Black Job), a small terrestrial insect imitation that works well for rising witvis.

 

Witvis (Cape whitefish) are attracted to small, black dries, such as the RBJ – Photo by Platon Trakoshis

 

Winter Brandvlei witvis are good fun on dry flies – Platon Trakoshis letting a good one go.